This is Temporary. This is Temporary. This is Temporary.


So, day 2 (Wednesday) goes off without a hitch.  I am pretty much blissfully ignorant to any kind of pain within my body, I am uncomfortable, but for the most part numb.  I can handle it.  Every 3 hours, I grab a Percocet and drift back off to sleep.  I hate pain meds, they make me dizzy and I don't feel very stable.  I've never liked taking them, but I've been lectured about this.  I have to take them, and it's better for me to take them before the pain gets too bad.  So, I take the pain pills.  Getting in and out of bed, or out of a chair is extremely challenging and sends waves of pain through my upper body.  If you've ever tried to get up off of a toilet seat without moving a single muscle in your upper body, you can imagine the challenge that I faced. Go ahead, give it a whirl... (I'm not necessarily sure that advising a recent mastectomy patient to guzzle as much water as possible is the best or most relative advice.  While I understand the merits of the advice, it presents huge challenges.  If it didn't hurt so much to laugh, I would most certainly be laughing at this predicament that I've gotten msyelf into!  So, for now, I will make a mental note, and I will definitely have a good chuckle out of this at a later date.)  There is a positive to all of this crazy mastectomy business, I got flowers!  And they're absolutely beautiful!  (But, no, I wouldn't do it all over again just for the flowers!)

Day 3, is different.  It is easier to get out of bed, and a chair.   I'm not sure if this is progress or if I've just learned how to do it without making those horrific waves of pain shoot through my body.  My legs and my abs are definitely my friends in this situation, and the more I use them to do stuff, the easier my life is.  I still get stuck on the floor, because I forget that I am like a wounded bird without a wing and trying to fly just isn't an option.  But, I am used to being on the floor with my dogs and I forget...This situation, I cannot help but laugh at.  Mommy did an "oops" Lucy, and before I know it, she's wiggling all over the place, and I'm laughing even harder.  Huh, amazing, isn't laughter supposed to dull the pain?  Percocet is still my friend, and the numbing that they gave me at the hospital is starting to wear off, but I still know it's there. because I can't feel my armpits, talk about a weird sensation.  I had a long blissful shower on morning 3, after sleeping 2 nights on my back and straight up, this felt like heaven.  I didn't have a ton of bandages, but those are all gone now, and all that's left is this impossibly sexy sports bra.  As I was getting out of bed this morning, I had 2 hot pains, one left and one right.  These pains will revisit me every time I get out of bed, no matter how much much I use my leg and lower back muscles to pull me up, I am suspicious that these have something to do with the drains.

Day 4, I am a woman on a mission.  I must go to Orlando for my Herceptin treatment.  If I miss this treatment, I won't finish my Herceptin by the end of the year.  Besides, it's on the calender. Little do I know, there is great news waiting for me in the oncology department.  I definitely am feeling stronger today than I did yesterday.  Getting showered and dressed still isn't a barrel full of monkeys, but it's easier than it was yesterday, and every day, I get better and better at balancing like a circus act on one leg to put my pants on.  The ride to Orlando is torture, I am not a very good passenger, and my mother does not like driving in traffic.  Despite the fact that the GPS is programmed with step by step instructions, she still has no idea where she's going, it's like she is oblivious to the GPS.  I could have driven myself, I hadn't had any pain meds for at least 8 hours, but there's this nasty business of raising my arms too far before pains start shooting all over the place. (Just in case I've forgotten, however temporarily, that I've just had a double mastectomy and lymph node removal!)  I am pretty sure the steering wheel would have been just "too far".   

So, we make it to Florida Hospital.  Oh how I hate the site of this building.  Of course, I associate it with chemo therapy, and there isn't much about my memories of chemo that give me warm fuzzy feelings (except for my chemo friends of course).  On a mission to the bathroom, I run into my oncologist in the hallway who is shocked that I just had surgery on Tuesday and am standing in her office on Friday.  She asks if I've seen  my pathology report?  Pathology report?  Me?  No!  Bring it on!  My pathology report is 3 pages of great news, or at least that is what she tells me.  It's clean.  Everything is clean.  There is no cancer left in this body!  (I guess my Dear John letter really got to him!)  As I mentioned it's 3 pages long, and I'm not sure what most of it means, I will wait for the surgeon to go over all of that with me on Thursday, but for now, this news make the pain even more tolerable.  Actually, I managed a little dance, I just had to do it!  This is big!  (However, I probably won't be dancing again for a little while...)

On my way home from the oncologists office, my Cigna Case Manager calls.  I have a love/hate affair with this woman.  She never seems to call at a good time, I'm always in the middle of something, or there is always 15 things going on.  And I don't know for sure, but I suspect she is either a victim of dementia or chemo brain, because she always asks me the same question over and over until I just want to scream.  Friday was no different.  Oh, and did I mention, she's always on the hunt for complications.  She just asks over and over again if I have any complications. I view this as negativity and it makes my skin crawl.  Can't she just be happy that I haven't turned green?  I understand that she's just trying to help, but I've got a ton of doctors, and if I do have complications, rest assured I'll be calling them before I call someone sitting behind a desk 1000 miles away- that's why they're getting paid the big bucks!

Day 5, like an idiot, I decide that I am going to be brave today.  I decide that I am going to go pain med free, I just don't feel like I'm in the mood to be dizzy and disoriented all day long.  Where do I come up with these insane plans?  Must be residual effects of chemo brain that are making me take such idiotic courses of action.  Actually, it was not so bad.  I was highly functioning, but pretty damn uncomfortable, all day yesterday, which made me feel good (the highly functioning part).  I still have all of the same issues, but they're definitely getting better.  I do however notice that the back of my left arm is completely numb including my funny bone.....why do I suspect that the fun is just getting started?  My hardest time of day is changing out the drains.  For some reason, the suctioning hurts like hell, I can really feel it.  I am hopeful that these drains will be gone on Thursday at my post-op appointment.  Every day, there is less and less in the little bottles.  I have a feeling that I will feel a lot better once the drains are out.  There are 4 of them, constantly present and digging into me in weird places.  I made it until 8:00 last night without a Percocet.  Then it just couldn't be avoided, I knew I wasn't going to get a wink of sleep if I didn't take one...  

My cancer buddy asked me if the mastectomy was worse then chemo.  As painful as this has been, and will probably continue to be for several weeks, chemo was worse.  Chemo took over my whole body and just made me feel constantly crappy for 18 weeks, maybe even longer.  This is just pain, isolated pretty much to one spot in my body.  And while I can't do most of the things that I'm used to doing, I know that this is very short term, and that I can deal with it.  As long as I'm noticing even just a little bit of progress every day, I will be okay, I can do this.... I just keep getting closer and closer to the light at the end of the tunnel!



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